03 Jan 2018 / Digital Transformation

How to overcome the enemies of business agility and accelerate growth

We can hardly imagine a CEO or senior executive not being preoccupied to maintain and increase speed, adaptability and competitive stance in today’s challenging business environment. We call this business agility, and although it is on business leaders’ minds permanently, many companies are still struggling to stay agile in an ever-changing business landscape. But what drives this paradox and what solutions are there to overcome it?

Conflicting priorities and behaviors are often the greatest enemy of business agility. Overcoming this enemy requires business leaders to ensure that everyone within the organization is focused on customers and their evolving needs. Adapting products and services to meet customer demands and adjusting to the ever-changing business environment are crucial for any business trying to foster business agility and innovation in order to increase its competitive edge.

Making change a routine part of your organization, which is a defining characteristic of any agile enterprise, is almost impossible when your employees’ efforts are mainly focused on repetitive business processes and have little time for innovation. Eliminating unnecessary work and tasks might seem the right approach for boosting business agility, but this should be done properly, otherwise risking throwing the entire organization into chaos.

Business leaders play a crucial role in this respect. Some of them believe that creating an innovative environment within the organization and then stepping back and leaving the employees to lead the way is enough. However, past experiences proved that individuals often innovate in ways that fit their own perspectives and their own objectives, which in turn can create problems for other employees or departments within the organization, in the end leading to confusion and slow progress.

The lesson we draw from here is that a business leader should rather define a shared vision within the organization and develop strong and efficient systems and platforms aimed at ensuring a fluid movement of people and tasks inside the enterprise, as well as in the interaction with customers. In an era of profound digital transformations in the economy and society this can only be achieved through business applications, which can cover and manage rapidly and seamlessly an infinite number of business processes – from customer requests to HR incidents.

We, at BlueFabric, are aware that developing business apps in the traditional paradigm, which involves coding and requires a lot of time and money, cannot accommodate your objective of becoming agile, at least not alone. That’s why we came with our own solution: a low-code platform which is fast, agile and ensures short development cycles, therefore being the perfect approach for software innovation. Basically, a low-code platform is an easy-to-configure app-development framework that empowers users with little or no-code background to rapidly design, build and test complex workflows, reporting or other business processes based on pre-built services. Thus, your company saves valuable time and money, while your business becomes more unified.

Organizational inertia is another big enemy of business agility that has to be addressed in order to prevent slowdown and exploit new opportunities. Let’s take the example of a company that set as its highest priority increasing the speed of launching new products in order to take advantage of a fast developing market where it recently extended its operations. Not losing this opportunity requires a shift in the organization’s culture, with the main focus on the approval flow, which has to move from a framework based on silos to one that empowers cross-functional teams to quickly generate new concepts and innovation and bring them on the market fast. Maintaining a silo mentality is the worst decision a business leader can make in this specific situation.

One of the main advantages of a low-code approach is that it enables different teams within the organization (i.e. both staff member outside the IT department and professional developers) to collaborate in order to rapidly design and create innovative products and services that fit customer needs. A low-code platform empowers you as a business leader to make sure that everyone within the organization follows the same goal, with the same method, thus avoiding both conflicting priorities and behaviors, and the organizational inertia which is specific to a silo approach.

Everyone within the enterprise has a role in providing value for customers and has to internalize his role. What a low-code platform does is to make very clear where everyone’s role stands and how he or she has to fulfill this role.

In the current more and more digitized world another issue that could prevent your business from becoming agile is the technical complexity of app development. More and more often, even professional developers struggle to master emerging technologies aimed at improving efficiency of an organization. That’s why many companies adopted a new practice, defined by Gartner research firm as the bimodal style. It implies two separate but coherent style of work: one is focused on predictability and is applied in areas where things are more predictable and well-understood, while the other is focused on exploration and solving new problems and is applied in areas of uncertainty.

Due to its resilience, low-code is the best solution for approaching the second mode. A low-code solution comes with pre-built services that accelerate app development cycle and empowers non-programmer users to build powerful, but also flexible applications. And flexibility is more important than ever in the current changing business environment. Imagine that you have to fit the needs of disparate business units or you have to adapt to changing business conditions. Well, low-code apps can be easily configured to do that and can be modified at runtime, all without coding. If you think that this can’t fuel your business agility then we don’t know what else can.

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